March 2021

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I began to dream of the RV life halfway through binge-watching the first season of “Breaking Bad” in January. No need for concern – it was the Albuquerque mountains, not the meth, that had me wishing I could trade places with Walter White. I took it as a sign that I needed a vacation, and then I powered through the rest of the series on Netflix.

The pandemic has meant hunkering down at home for most, taking lots of walks and venturing out only when necessary. For Chapel Hill’s Michelle Fishburne, it was a call to safely hit the road in her RV in a series of trips across the country. She met folks of all stripes – from artists to business owners to teachers – and talked to them about this “new normal,” telling their stories on her website, A storyteller and a traveler myself, I realized Walter White and his RV excursions have nothing on Michelle’s. She wraps up her road trip at the end of this month, but you can read more about her cross-country travels on page 42.

Are you champing at the bit for when it’s safe to book that overdue vacation, but yearning for some excitement now? We have a few staycation ideas. On page 32, you’ll find reopened favorites to visit and a hidden gem or two here in Chapel Hill and beyond. As for me, I’m counting down to a trip this fall (fingers crossed!) and meanwhile looking for adventure closer to home. – Jessica Stringer

24 Mask Up 
Meet the team behind a PSA that encourages wearing your mask

28 Carolina on Our Mind
When the pandemic hit last year, UNC alumna and Hillsborough native Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett led a team that developed the vaccine

32 Staycation, All I Ever Wanted
Ideas for entertainment and fun a little closer to home 

36 Making the Band 
A group of high schoolers has raised more than $80,000 for UNC Children’s selling handmade bracelets

40 A Second Act
Four seniors at The Cedars prove that the show does go on, even in your eighties

42 Stories From the Road
A Chapel Hill woman traveled across the country sharing stories during the pandemic 

46 Sound Check 
The pandemic put their 10-year touring streak on hold, but Mandolin Orange is content, for now 

52 The Entrepreneurs 
Business owners share lessons learned, how they’ve weathered the pandemic and what it’s like to be their own boss 

86 If You Build It … 
After an exhaustive house search, the Skurky family decided to build their dream home in an established neighborhood 

112 Welcoming Wegmans
The grocery chain opened a new location in Chapel Hill in late February 


6 Editor’s Letter 

8 About Town
Events not to miss 

16 Noted 
What we’ve heard around town …

22 What We’re Eating
News from our restaurant community, plus a dish we love 

116 Dining Guide 

118 Joyous Cooking
Stewing in Isolation

124 Engagement
Kelty O’Brien & Drew Shannon 

125 Weddings
Niko Gibson & Alexa Phillips
Diane Miller & Will Potter
Alex Waldorf & Sarah Wilson 


10 Salute to Community Heroes 

12 The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro Annual Meeting

13 Crook’s Corner Book Prize 


70 Orange County Strong 2021
Sponsored by Hamilton Point Investment Advisors 

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